THE PINK EARTH LICHEN

It is said that the ‘pink earth lichen,’ Dibaeis beomyces, can be identified from a car at 40 miles per hour.

Dibaeis beomyces on a roadside

I don’t know about that. But, this lichen is distinctive for its cushion-shaped, pink caps that top short, pale stalks.  The pink cap is where the sexual spores form. They are spread by water splashing. The stalks arise from a thin crust, the crustose thallus, where cells of the photobiont — the green algal partner of this lichen — are found.

Dibaeis beomyces occurs on clay soils, often on road banks, and that is where these photos were taken.  The species has a wide northern distribution in Eastern and North America, Europe and Arctic regions generally.

 

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